VARIOUS ARTISTS: Hold The Vocals …A Tribute to the Instrumental Hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s: CD

Jul 13, 2007

It wouldn’t be difficult to create a tribute album of pisstake instrumentals, the goal being to see how seriously one could screw up the more easily dismissed songs of a particular artist. The Squirrels, for example, take an interesting swipe at both Morton Stevens and Dave Brubeck in their odd “Hawaii Take 5-O.” But would you ever be moved to hit the replay button? Probably not. Still, mixing classic cool jazz with hot surf is an interesting juxtaposition that one doesn’t hear every day. Likewise with Clang Quartet, who reclaim Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” from that inane Tiger Woods commercial. Other contributors seem so intent on doing a particular song justice they render it without a hint of parody or humor. That’s the case with Hugh Jones’ version of the Allman Brothers’ “Don’t Want You No More” or the Waterdogs version of Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror,” which actually sounds sophisticated enough to be an outtake from Dark Side of the Moon. Then there’s folk like freedirt (doing the Tornados’ “Telstar”), D.A. Sebasstian (Link Wray’s “Rumble”) and Adam & His Ballard Playboys (Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk”) whose covers are more than competent but don’t stray too far from the originals. Much more impressive are those who cut away the chafe from the originals, revealing the simpler roots which sometimes got lost in the jamming. Take Erik 4-A & Friends for example, who strip down the more avant-garde tendencies of Captain Beefheart’s “Frying Pan” to produce a classic squall of traditional blues. Even more impressive is Bill Worford’s Head whose admirably funkified take on Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” almost begs the question of what the band would have sounded like with George Clinton’s acid-filled head orchestrating the whole affair.

 –eric (GO-Kustom)